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Portuguese students get a taste of Manchester

WHOLE NEW WORLD: Students and reps during the students’ visit

BREXIT MAY be looming, but one Jamaican enterprise is proving that the door is open to our European neighbours by welcoming students from Portugal.

Dougy’s Caribbean takeaway, situated in both the Moss Side and Chorlton-cum-Hardy areas of Manchester took part in a scheme to host the language students and support them in a work placement for three days.

Dougy’s proprietor, Denis Douglas, said: “I’d like to thank the school so much for giving Dougy’s and the wider Manchester community the opportunity to meet these students.

“The scheme far exceeded my expectations. Our placement student, Diogo, was absolutely focused. He came with an intention to learn new skills and speak conversationally in English.”

The 13 students, all aged between 16 and 18, are learning to speak English at the Plurilíngua language school located in the village of Porto de Mós in central Portugal. In addition to improving their language skills the students wanted to experience living in a multicultural society and Manchester was selected as the most suitable location to do that. Accompanied by directors at the school and their English teacher, Livia Sousa, the youngsters spent five days immersing themselves in British and the quintessential Mancunian culture.

Plurilíngua director, Diamantina Duráo, said : “Livia used to live in Manchester and she told us how good the city is and how multicultural it is and I think it’s good for our students to experience other cultures that they wouldn’t otherwise experience living in Portugal. “Manchester is an amazing city and full of very kind people.”

On the first day of the visit the students were welcomed by representatives from Manchester’s black and minority ethnic (BAME) network during a breakfast meeting hosted at Manchester Museum.

Chair of the network, Atiha Chaudry, talked about the diversity of the city and the increasing opportunities in Manchester for people from a BAME background.

Among other things, the students were keen to discover how multiculturalism impacted on the city and learn about different cultures and gastronomy in the locality.

Other businesses taking part in the scheme included Bem Brasil, Salford University and Footlights Theatre School in Rossendale.

Student Diogo Pires, left and Denis Douglas, right, owner of Dougy’s Caribbean takeaway

Student, Diogo Pires, whose placement was at Dougy’s in Chorlton-cum-Hardy has been mastering the art of making salt fish fritters and fried dumplings.

“I want to improve on my English and visit museums. I know very little about the area and have never eaten Caribbean food before, so I am excited about this experience,” he said.

English teacher Livia, said: “It is important for the students to not only learn to speak and understand English but also to learn about diversity in other countries as in their small village this is not something that they are accustomed to.

“They also have the opportunity to become familiar with the working environment as it is very different from Portugal where 9am can often mean 10am. Diogo spends every weekend working in a restaurant in his village so he was a good match for this placement.

“He speaks very good English so now he can master the Jamaican dialect, too.”

Denis added: “If I was to score him out of 10, he’d easily be a 10. He is in a foreign country with a new culture and speaking a different language to his mother tongue. But he has thoroughly embraced all of that and has tried very hard.

“I am keen to do more and hope to be asked to take part in this scheme again. In fact, I think it should be rolled out across our community.

“It doesn’t just open the door for foreign students, it also leads me to consider offering the same opportunity to students here in the UK.”

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